8/27/2013 12:34 A.M. ET
Nunez to serve in utility role with Jeter back
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Derek Jeter's return from the disabled list has once again bumped infielder Eduardo Nunez to the bench, and the Yankees plan to use him in more of a utility role going forward.
Because the Yankees do not expect Jayson Nix (fractured left hand) to return this season, manager Joe Girardi will look to Nunez to back up at shortstop, third base and even second base.
"He's really our only other option at second base right now," Girardi said. "Nixy's down, we're not going to get him back. It probably makes some sense that [Nunez] takes some ground balls there."
Girardi is not certain if he would choose Nunez over the recently signed Mark Reynolds at third base.
"I'll look at some matchups and see," he said. "The good thing is, I feel I can use them both, which is nice."
A-Rod takes Dickey deep for 650th career homer
TORONTO -- Third baseman Alex Rodriguez hit the 650th home run of his career on Monday, connecting for a solo shot in the fifth inning off the Blue Jays' R.A. Dickey at Rogers Centre.
The homer, Rodriguez's third of the season, struck a wall behind the Toronto bullpen in right field and tied the score at 2.
"Alex hit a pretty good pitch; it was a knuckleball down," Dickey said. "He likes the ball down and out over the plate, and that one just happened to go there. He did a good job of hitting it out. He has opposite-field power, he always has."
Rodriguez ranks fifth on baseball's all-time homer list and is closing ground on Hall of Famer Willie Mays (660). Rodriguez's contract includes a $6 million bonus payable if he ties Mays.
The shot off Dickey was Rodriguez's first since his emotional shot off Boston's Ryan Dempster on Aug. 18, which came innings after Dempster intentionally hit Rodriguez with a 92-mph fastball, earning a five-game suspension.
Rodriguez entered Monday in a 3-for-19 skid over the six games following that contest at Fenway Park.
Gardner notches 500th hit of career
TORONTO -- Outfielder Brett Gardner notched a small milestone on Monday at Rogers Centre, logging the 500th hit of his Major League career.
Gardner's hit was a soft single in the fifth inning off Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey that dropped in front of right fielder Moises Sierra.
He was stranded when Dickey got Robinson Cano to fly out to center field, ending the inning.
Girardi: Yanks as 'whole' as they've been all year
TORONTO -- It took until game No. 131, but manager Joe Girardi was finally able to scribble his signature at the bottom of a lineup card that closely resembled what the Yankees had anticipated this spring.
Derek Jeter's activation off the disabled list marked the first time this season that he and Alex Rodriguez have played together, and the Yankees also have Curtis Granderson healthy following his two stints on the DL.
"It's probably as whole as we've been all year long," Girardi said. "We've had guys in and out of the lineup for different periods, but this is probably as whole as we've been."
Changes have obviously been made along the way; Monday's first baseman, Lyle Overbay, was a last-minute addition this spring when Mark Teixeira's season was in jeopardy, and Alfonso Soriano was acquired from the Cubs in late July.
By and large, Girardi is pleased with the look of the batting order. He added that this time the Yankees won't necessarily have to consider Jeter a savior, as they did in July.
"We had lost Tex and Grandy for the second time and [Jeter] was the guy who was closest, and we were struggling," he said. "We weren't hitting any homers right-handed, and there was a lot of excitement [about Jeter's return].
"Now we've gotten a lot of other guys back, and it's just more that you're adding another good piece to the puzzle."
• Right-hander Preston Claiborne was optioned to Class A Tampa after Sunday's game, clearing a roster spot for Jeter.
Girardi explained that the Yankees wanted to keep two long men in Adam Warren and David Huff, and since Tampa's season ends on Sept. 1, Claiborne can be recalled the next day.
• Rodriguez batted sixth on Monday. Girardi wanted to split up left-handers so he did not have to stack Granderson, Overbay and Ichiro Suzuki against Toronto's R.A. Dickey.
• On this date in 1960, the Yankees hit five home runs -- including Yogi Berra's 11th inning walk-off shot -- to beat the Indians, 7-6.